The St. Mary's County Health Department is investigating a suspected case of measles and potential exposures.
Officials say a patient was evaluated at the MedStar St. Mary's Hospital (MSMH) Emergency Department on Sunday, March 3 and was isolated within some hours after arrival.
The health department said the time frame for potential exposure may have been between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Sunday within the emergency department. MSMH is working with the Health Department to address this issue, officials say.
Health officials are contacting anyone who may have come in contact with the individual in those areas of the hospital during that period of time.
Anyone with questions and concerns should call 301-475-4911 on March 5 between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
FROM THE ST. MARY'S COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
What is Measles
Measles is highly contagious. Measles is a serious respiratory disease (in the lungs and breathing tubes) that causes a rash and fever. It is very contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing. Measles can live up to two hours in the air where an infected person coughed or sneezed, even after the person has left the area. An infected person can spread measles virus to others even before knowing he/she has measles — from four days before developing the rash to four days after developing the rash.
Most individuals in the United States have been vaccinated against measles and are immune to developing measles illness. However, those who are not vaccinated and have exposure to measles virus may develop measles illness.
7 – 14 days after infection:
- Fever greater than 101 degrees
- Runny nose
- Red/watery eyes
3-5 days later:
- A rash of flat red spots begins to appear on the face and spreads downward over the entire body
- Small red bumps can develop on top of the flat red spots
- Red spots may join together to form larger red areas
If you notice the symptoms of measles, immediately limit your exposure to other people by staying home. Individuals who are concerned about possible exposure to or infection with measles should call their primary health care provider before visiting the provider office in order to receive appropriate guidance and take precautions ahead of a visit. If using an emergency department for care, call ahead to let the facility know of your concerns so preparations for your arrival can be made. This reduces the chances of potentially exposing other people to measles. Potentially exposed individuals with questions may call the the hotline at 301-475-4911.
Vaccination with MMR is recommended for all children, with the first dose typically given at about 12-15 months and a second dose between ages 4 and 6—before the child enters kindergarten. Adults can also receive MMR vaccine if they are not already immune. There are special recommendations for vaccination in situations where there may have been measles exposure or for international travel.
Measles has been virtually eliminated in the United States due to the widespread use of the MMR vaccine. However, sporadic cases and measles outbreaks can arise when unvaccinated people visit the United States, when an unvaccinated individual visits a foreign country where measles circulates in the population, and when measles spreads domestically across individuals not fully vaccinated against measles. More recently, measles outbreaks across the US are connected to lower vaccination rates in communities.